Architects for the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches also did big-name NFL stadiums

Posted at 5:27 PM, Feb 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-28 20:50:21-05

The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches is officially open for business.

Everything kicked off Tuesday afternoon with a game between the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals, which now call the new stadium their home for spring training.

But besides the game itself, so much goes into the ballpark's design and the way you enjoy it.

Dallas-based HKS Architects, the brains behind the ballpark's design, have some pretty big projects on their resume including some from the NFL. They've done the Cowboys stadium in Arlington, Texas and the stadium for the Indianapolis Colts.

WPTV's Alanna Quillen took a tour with the artists and architects on what makes the stadium in West Palm Beach stand out.

"Most of the ballparks in spring training are little bit older or they've been focused on just the game," said Mo Stein, with HKS Architects. "Baseball is a social game and it's not just go to one place and watch and leave. We really wanted to pick up on this fun spirit of spring training."

Stein says the park's the most unique aspect is a 360 degree concourse. You can see the game, no matter where you stand.

"Be able to experience the game from lots of places," said Stein.

And the park is built so that you'll always feel a breeze on those hot days.

"We wanted to make it easier for the fans to move around and have fun. The concourses are as wide as we can, they're open air," said Stein.

Seattle-based artist Blessing Hancock created the ballpark's art, working with Palm Beach County's program "Art in Public Spaces."

"Even installing it took over a month," she said.

Hancock designed giant steel panels that are placed all throughout the park.

"When you look at them from a distance, you'll see these big tropical leaves," she said.

But when you get closer, there's images of baseball players etched within the leaves. When the sun shines on the panels, the shadows of the players are cast on walls and walkways.

"The theme is to bring tropical baseball, very site-specific integration," she said.

She even created custom glass panels on the entrance bridges, brought all the way from Germany. Each colorful panel shows popular phrases of baseball. Hancock flew to Germany to work with the glassmakers herself.

"I've been watching people as they cross through all day. They slow down and take their time. They get in the mood for the big game," she said.

And the ballpark's is not limited to just baseball. Stein said the site, which is complete with artificial lakes and parks, is about 160 acres -- making it the largest physical site in spring training.

"Shows, festivals, races, events, concerts," said Stein. "We've got these great lakes, the parks, public places -- the big plaza out here where the city and county are going to be able to hold major events out here in the plaza."

Construction continues in some of the parking zones. There are 3,200 parking spaces, which they hope to expand upon.

"There's bus opportunities, bike opportunities, ride sharing opportunities -- we're trying to encourage that," said Stein.